I recently posted an answer to which a useful edit was suggested. It added a paragraph to the answer, and got rejected as an attempt to reply. It actually made a good point, and I ended up adjusting my answer because of it. I hadn't seen this situation before, so I came and searched on MSO to see if there was a way to approve the edit anyway, despite the rejection, and came across Allow the owner of a post to approve a suggested edit even if it was rejected by reviewers, which I support.

In the meantime, though, I notice that most of the answers to those sorts of inquiries are the general advice "copy and paste the edit anyway." For instance, see some of the replies to User suggested great corrective edit to my answer, but the edit was rejected. What can I do to approve it?.

Now, for little things like typographical and grammatical errors, that doesn't seem like a problem. For bigger edits like the one that I ran into though, this seems like it would run afoul of the attribution requirement; the suggesting contributor contributed according to the license mentioned at the bottom of every page: "user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required." For accepted edits, attribution is preserved in the edit history. If someone copies and pastes text from a rejected suggested edit and doesn't give attribution to the suggester, this would seem to violate the license. Plenty of answers get deleted for copying and pasting text from other answers without attribution; wouldn't the same apply here?

Does copying and pasting contributions from suggested edits into a post without attribution violate the attribution requirement?

Note: To be clear, it's not hard to provide attribution in the case of incorporating a rejected suggested edit's text; my concern is that it seems like the current suggested practice is simply to copy and paste it it into the post, and that seems like it omits the attribution requirement.

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1 Answer 1


What is stopping you from copying and pasting the rejected edit into your post, and adding text like:

This edit was suggested by [user account](link to user account), but [was rejected](link to rejected edit).

(Or "This edit was inspired by an edit by..." if you change the original text.)

I incorporate information from comments all the time, and do my best to give credit where credit is due. I don't see this as any different, really, even though there is no rule that says I have to give the commenter credit.

  • Yes, and I left a comment to that effect. My concern is that the general consensus about this has been "copy and paste the edit" with no hint of attribution. Richard Tiingle's answer which mentions "the OP can simply edit it in anyway giving credit seems fair" is one of the few that mentions attribution. Linking to the suggested edit would take care of any problem; the common consensus doesn't include that recommendation, though. I"m trying to find out how serious it is if people take that advice (and don't attribute). Feb 1, 2014 at 22:42
  • If this is determined to violate the attribution requirement, then I think it makes the Allow the owner of a post to approve a suggested edit even if it was rejected by reviewers feature request much more valuable. Feb 1, 2014 at 22:43
  • @Joshua well, I can't speak for what Richard or others have suggested, but the above is my suggestion. And I have a hard time believing that if you mention the proposed editor in the edit, even if it was rejected, they'd be pretty hard pressed to be offended or angry that it was incorporated that way (as opposed to an edit that people would only associate with them if it were the last edit, or they were randomly reviewing all the edits).
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 1, 2014 at 22:45
  • "I don't see this as any different, really, even though there is no rule that says I have to give the commenter credit." There would be a problem, though, if you took a full comment and added it to your post without attribution, though. With a significant edit (a whole paragraph), it's more like that, I think. Feb 1, 2014 at 22:45
  • And while I agree that this probably doesn't ruffle too many feathers on a day to day basis, it seems similar to Does the migration of edited posts violate attribution requirements? It's important to preserve the edit history and record contributions because SO says to users "contribute to us under license X which says (among other things) that your work will be attributed to you". Feb 1, 2014 at 22:48
  • @JoshuaTaylor So what do you propose the system do about deleted answers? I can just as easily take content from there - which, like a rejected edit - is something that either the user, a moderator, or three members of community didn't feel was worthy of remaining. I infer that "your work" implies "your work that actually remains and is visible."
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 1, 2014 at 22:58
  • If you're that concerned about stealing that person's rejected work, send them a note to submit the edit again - maybe the rejection was a misunderstanding, maybe the editor will get more favorable reviewers this time... Anyway I'm not sure how often any of this really happens in real life, and I don't think there's anything that says "your work will be attributed to you" must mean that if you submitted a proposed edit, the only way that attribution can come is through the revision history. Mentioning them in the body and/or a comment is far more favorable, I think.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 1, 2014 at 23:00

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